Music

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Hampden Park, Glasgow

Graeme Thomson

four stars

THE WEATHER set the mood. Bruce Springsteen hit the Hampden stage at 6.45 precisely in the blinding sunshine and lit into Waiting on a Sunny Day, setting the tone for a 34-song, three and a half hour show that largely kept to the bright side of the road but had just enough darkness around the edges.

Despite being billed as The River tour, this was more about following the tributaries of Springsteen's mighty back catalogue than tracing a direct route down his classic 1980 double album, of which he performed almost half the tracks.

Dublin had got Bono. Glasgow didn't. Lucky us. The E Street Band and their Boss (assisted by three fantastically game audience members pulled on stage at various points) were quite enough. In remarkable shape for a 66-year-old, both physically and vocally, while the night was young and bright Springsteen led us through Spirit in the Night, Sherry Darling, Two Hearts and Hungry Heart, before gathering up a bundle of audience requests and opting for glorious versions of 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) and Rosalita (Come Out Tonight), each one enhancing the summery mood.

As the sun lowered, so the music moved into the shadowlands. Intense readings of American Skin, The River and Point Blank were dark and riveting. As the stage lights began to flicker, he pulled out Because the Night, Thunder Road and Badlands, before a happy home run of classics (Born to Run, Glory Days, Dancing in the Dark, Tenth Avenue Freeze Out) played with the vigour of a man half his age

A joyous romp through the Isley Brothers' Shout had all of Hampden in full voice and on its feet, but there was still time for one last mood swing, as Springsteen returned for a solo encore of This Hard Land. Light and shade to the last. It's only rock and roll - but it's life, too.